2017 Infiniti QX60

By February 27, 2017

The Infiniti QX60 is a front-wheel-drive luxury crossover that seats seven. Competitors include the Acura MDX, Volvo XC90, and Audi Q7.

The current-generation model was launched as a 2013 and was called the JX, then renamed QX60 for 2014 as part of an Infiniti nomenclature overhaul. Styling was freshened and suspension stiffened for model year 2016.

The 2017 Infiniti QX60 brings more power, and a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and streaming audio, although the infotainment system remains a weak point.

The 3.5-liter V6 in the 2017 QX60 makes 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, a significant increase from 2016. The aging engine now has high-tech direct injection. It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission that’s not great.

We find the Infiniti’s look and feel equal to the Acura but below the Volvo and Audi whose designs are more imaginative. All-wheel drive is available, as is a Hybrid model, but that’s a low-volume vehicle that most dealers don’t stock, and has to be ordered.

Inside, the QX60 is spacious and stylish. We think the interior looks too much like the much cheaper Nissan Pathfinder, whose platform it shares, but the interior trim is of a higher level. Its aura is upscale, but it doesn’t match the feel of a Mercedes-Benz or BMW, although those vehicles do cost more. And the QX60 doesn’t deliver the driving polish we think it should.

The QX60 earns the Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, but that’s only if it’s equipped with the expensive packages that include all the safety systems such as automatic emergency braking. The 2017 QX60 is EPA rated at 21/27/23 miles per gallon City/Highway/Combined. The QX60 Hybrid gets 26/28/26 mpg.

Model Lineup

Infiniti QX60 comes in standard and Hybrid versions. Option packages include Premium, which adds a Bose 13-speaker sound system, power lumbar support, heated steering wheel, remote starting, and roofrails. Premium Plus adds navigation, surround-view cameras, and Infiniti Connection telematics.

Exterior

The QX60 doesn’t look as big as it is. It’s relatively sleek and nicely detailed, tastefully modern, a successful adaptation of sedan styling cues to a big crossover. It has a long hood and tapering roofline that makes it look softer than slab-sided SUVs like the Acura MDX. Its profile is distinct from the Nissan Pathfinder on which it’s based.

The front end leads with a large, puckered chrome grille, while the fenders swell gently into the body. The rear pillar features Infiniti’s signature crescent shape that adds distinction to the brand.

Interior

Inside, the Infiniti QX60 feels mostly luxurious. The QX60 cabin may be too much like the Pathfinder, for us, but the interior quality is noticeably higher. The dashboard, door panels, and seats are rich but restrained, with contrast stitching on the leather. The two-tone treatments keep the roomy interior light and airy. Base trim is matte silver, while wood comes only with the way expensive Deluxe Technology Package. The analog clock is a signature that’s past its time.

The infotainment display is crisp and clear, but the system is flawed. The menus are convoluted, and the mix of dials, knobs, commands and controller demands learning and sometimes defies understanding. We ended up learning a couple and avoiding the rest.

The layout of the seats is family friendly, with a 60/40 split second row that folds, tilts, collapses, and allows child seats to stay in place during access to the 50/50 split third row. It’s a flexibility you don’t find in many seven-seaters.

The front and rear seats are comfortable for adults, although bolstering in the front light. The third row is just for kids, even though it’s easy to reach. The cushion is low and the padding is thin.

The QX60 Hybrid’s compact lithium-ion battery pack is stashed under the third row, so it doesn’t cut cargo space, nor does it prevent the third row from folding flat.

The doors open wide and the step-in height is relatively low, so it’s easy to climb in and out of the QX60. The rear seat slides to and fro 5.5 inches, affording good legroom. Front-seat cooling is available, but the hardware under the seats gets in the way of rear passengers’ feet; skip it if you want more rear-seat comfort.

With both rows folded flat, there’s a sizeable 76.5 cubic feet of cargo space, and with both rows up, there’s still 15.8 cubic feet in back. That’s more than the trunk of many midsize cars.

There’s a good amount of sound insulation, so it’s pleasantly quiet inside, also because the CVT keeps engine speeds low for fuel efficiency. However, it gets louder under acceleration.

Driving Impressions

When the shocks and springs were stiffened for 2016, the idea was to improve the dynamics and make the QX60 more agile, but now the ride is too firm for a luxury crossover. Meanwhile the roadholding remains just adequate, with notable lean in the turns and understeer when it’s driven hard in corners. Of course, it wasn’t exactly designed to be driven like that, but it was upgraded to be more capable of it. The electric power steering, employed to improve fuel economy, isn’t crisp and doesn’t transmit much road feel.

The 2016 CVT transmission is sub par; it does the car few favors in the refinement department. There are four modes: Eco, Standard, Sport, and Snow. In Eco, the pedal feel is lame, and pushes back, so it’s only satisfactory on long, flat stretches of road, where you might save some fuel. Sport mode makes the CVT behave like a conventional 6-speed automatic, while in any other mode it drones under hard acceleration.

The hard-to-get QX60 Hybrid uses a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with a 15-kilowatt electric motor with clutches on each side, and attached to an adapted version of the CVT. It makes a combined gas/electric 250 horsepower. Unlike hybrids from Toyota, Ford, and others, it can’t pull out on just electric power. It gains about 4 miles per gallon, for about $10,000 more.

Both powertrains are available with all-wheel drive. The system sends its power to the front wheels until they slip, then up to 50 percent can go to the rear. It’s for winter traction, not off-roading.

The V6 is rated to tow up to 3500 pounds. Infiniti says that maybe 20 percent of QX60 buyers might tow.

Final Word

Infiniti QX60 offers seven-passenger seating in a near-luxury crossover SUV, but it doesn’t offer any compelling advantages over the many vehicles that compete with it. Special pricing and deals may make it more attractive.

Sam Moses contributed to this report.